Winter Lentil Soup with Roasted Tomatoes & Garlic

Lentil Soup w Roasted Garlic (c) jfhaugen“Without garlic I simply would not care to live.”
Louis Diat, Chef & Author

Winter isn’t quite over yet. We woke up to snow this morning with flocked trees and white roofs and lawns—everything quite beautiful (and yet only the day after discovering that my allium and a few daffodil bulbs are showing green shoots).  With such weather, soup is on my mind, and today I wanted to make lentil soup. Looking for inspiration, I consulted my favorite soup book, the 1999 classic The Daily Soup Cookbook by Leslie Kaul.

Today’s recipe is an adaptation of The Daily’s Lentil Soup with Roasted Garlic. I deleted a couple of items while increasing others, used fire-roasted diced tomatoes, branches of my dried garden rosemary, and pureed a portion of the soup for a smoother and heartier texture. A most wonderful recipe here for a healthy and delicious, robust and nutrient-rich meal in a bowl.

Roasted Garlic
Head of Garlic (c) jfhaugenLet’s talk about the whole head of garlic called for in the list of ingredients. You may be thinking that there is no way you would use an entire head of garlic in one pot of soup, its flavor is too assertive and overpowering. And you’re right on if this were fresh garlic. However, when roasted that head of garlic becomes much mellower and adds a most flavorful and smooth richness that can only be achieved by roasting.

There are a few ways to roast garlic, and the one described in the recipe below is probably the simplest. Just wrap the whole head in foil and place it in a hot (450 degree) oven for 25 minutes. Once you open the foil and smell the garlic, you’ll know you are in for a treat.

French Green Lentils (c) jfhaugenLentils are relatively quick cooking, with different varieties taking anywhere from 30-60 minutes. Unlike other types of dried beans, soaking lentils will not get them to cook more quickly. And, lentils—but not other beans—will cook and soften in the presence of salt and tomatoes. Having cooked them a number of times on their own as well as with salt and tomatoes, I agree there is little if any difference other than the ease of cooking everything in one pot

There is much to love about lentils.

  • All of the many varieties of lentils (red, yellow, green, black, brown, white) readily absorb the flavors of the foods which with they are cooked.
  • Lentils are nutrient-rich and high in fiber.
  • Most varieties are inexpensive and easily available all year long.

Winter Lentil Soup with Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic calls for French Green DePuy lentils, Black Belugas or the well-known brown lentils. Each of these varieties retain their shape when cooked. Brown lentils, though, can be induced to break down the longer they are cooked, so are best when you prefer a creamier soup.

I’ve previously posted a couple of other lentil recipes that you might want to try: : Curried Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup and Roasted Vegetables and Lentil Salad.

Winter Lentil Soup w Roasted Tomatoes & Garlic (c) jfhaugenWinter Lentil Soup w/ Roasted Tomatoes & Garlic

Inspired and Adapted from The Daily Soup Cookbook by Leslie Kaul et al.
Fresh spinach or chard would be a tasty, colorful and healthy addition to this vegan soup.

Makes 13-14 cups

1 whole head of garlic
1½ tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, ¼-inch dice (2 cups)
1½ cup carrots, 1/3-inch dice (peeled if not organic)
1½ cups celery, 1/3-inch dice
1 teaspoon salt
8 twists freshly ground pepper
Garden Rosemary and Turkish Bay Leaves (c) jfhaugen2 sprigs of dried rosemary (1 tablespoon fresh)
2 bay leaves
1 28-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 pound French (DuPuy) lentils, Black Beluga lentils or brown lentils, rinsed (2 1/3 cups)
9 cups vegetable stock or water
1 tablespoon red wine or balsamic vinegar

Optional Garnishes
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup thinly sliced green onion
A dollop of plain yoghurt

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Wrap the head of garlic in aluminum foil and roast in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. When cool enough to handle, separate the individual cloves from the skin and place the cloves in the blender jar.

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion. Cover the pot and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent. Remove the lid and stir in the diced carrots and celery and sprinkle with the salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook for 5 minutes.

In the pot and ready to cook (c) jfhaugenStir in the rosemary sprigs, bay leaves and fire-roasted tomatoes. Simmer all together for a few minutes before adding the lentils, stock or water. Cover the pot and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered for one hour or until the lentils are tender.

Remove 2½ cups of the soup to the blender jar with the roasted garlic cloves. Add the vinegar and puree the mixture until smooth. Stir it into the soup and cook another 2 minutes. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the rosemary stems and bay leaves. Serve the soup with any or all of the optional garnishes.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe without images

8 thoughts on “Winter Lentil Soup with Roasted Tomatoes & Garlic

  1. This soup is so good and was so easy to make. It went together very fast. I used black Beluga lentils and also used just 8 cups of veggie broth rather than 9. My soup was thick with lentils and veggies with wonderful flavors. And, the color was beautiful reminding me of a burgundy wine! A dollop of yogurt was the perfect touch. Thank you Janice!

  2. We had a cold windy night last week so this soup was the perfect choice.
    Sooooo tasty and so good for us.
    I agree the photos are beautiful and enticing.

    • Oh, Mitzi, so glad you enjoyed this soup. And thank you for your comments on the photos

  3. The Winter Lentil Soup looks delicious! I am always looking for vegan soups/dishes to take to church for after service fellowship times. Hot soup and fresh bread is always welcome.
    It would be great if you had a print button on your site. I like to print our recipes for use in the kitchen.
    Thank you

    • Thank you, Suzanne, I appreciate your comments and suggestions. There actually was a print button, though unfortunately it was hidden under “share.” I have now made it stand out on its own so you can easily access it and print recipes. By the way, I understand from Christina that you have gained the honorary title of “soup queen.”

  4. I so excited to be cooking this Lentil soup. I have been craving it for awhile. And, Janice, your photos are superb. I often to online for recipes and though the recipe may sound great, the photos are so poor it makes me “turn the page”. You have a real knack for lighting and texture that makes the food pop out and create a craving!

    I know this is mostly vegetarian, but any ideas for a slow cooer Bison stew?
    Love, your carnivorous Yoga Teacher : )

    • Dear Carnivorous,
      Thank you, I appreciate your comments both on the mat and off the mat.
      I don’t have a recipe for slow cooker bison stew, though I just cooked (for the first time) pheasant and grouse breasts if you would like that recipe. A quick search and there seem to be a number of recipes for bison stew. And, as you probably know, the key (so I read) is long and slow, so the slow cooker sounds a perfect way to go. Happy cooking to you. . . .

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